Page County Board of Supervisors met with County Engineer J.D. King Tuesday, Dec. 18 to discuss a potential addition to his staff to help with safety issues.
Morris asked King his thoughts of adding a full-time safety director which the person will also be utilized by the secondary roads department. King was accepting of the idea knowing the county’s safety policy and procedures is under review which could impact its workers’ compensation insurance policy.
King also suggested a safety director be a county employee and not necessarily linked to his department.
“We’ve had a lack of human resources with safety over the years. The HR is being addressed,” Morris said. County Auditor Melissa Wellhausen is taking HR courses to benefit county operations and employees.
But Morris is concerned with the progress being made showing safety measures have been added knowing many of the county’s past workers’ compensation claims have come from secondary roads employees.
Earlier this year, the county acquired the services of a safety consultant to analyze all county operations. Morris said a formal discipline procedure is needed for safety-related violations.
“We still have a long ways to go,” Morris said, based on a Dec. 6 report from the consultant.
Morris said the county could lose its workers’ compensation policy because of inefficiencies with safety procedures forcing the county to spend much more for the same coverage.
King said he would expect an assistant engineer, or an assistant to the engineer, to be more interested in engineering work rather than monitoring safety issues.
King has recently advertised for an assistant to the engineer.
Supervisors will further research responsibility and needs for repairs of a drainage pipe at a watershed structure connected to Pierce Creek. Brandon Pease from the soil and water conservation district informed the supervisors a drainage pipe may be plugged. Adjacent landowners are encouraged to keep debris clear.
In other supervisor news:
Jona Hutson was reappointed to the county board of health. Clarinda Regional Health Center CEO Chuck Nordyke was also appointed to the board, making it a five-member board. There had been six members this year but two members did not reapply after their respective terms expired.
Supervisor Chuck Morris abstained from the vote on Nordyke because of his working relationship at the health center.
Holly Martin was reappointed to the county conservation board. Katy King, who had considered resigning from the conservation board, will continue to serve.
Duane Rexroth was appointed to the Civil Service Commission.
Terms for all committees begin Jan. 1.
Supervisors tabled appointments to the zoning board of adjustment.